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Fashion pops up in Warhol's work

exhibit November 5, 1997
Web posted at: 4:22 a.m. EST (0922 GMT)

From Correspondent Elsa Klensch

NEW YORK (CNN) -- It's been 10 years since Andy Warhol, the controversial leader of the "Pop Art" movement, died at age 59. What more he could have accomplished is anyone's guess. But in his lifetime, he was a prolific artist, painter, illustrator, photographer, film producer, publisher and costume designer.

This week, "The Warhol Look/Glamour Fashion Style," opening at New York's Whitney museum looks at his impact on fashion and its impact on him.

Curator Marjery King says the show is a first because it brings together all of the facets of Warhol's work in one show.

"It was really exciting to discover new things all the time," King says. "To discover a paper dress that Warhol had screened with his fragile image in the 1960s, to discover things that he had designed later on that we never knew about and to see things he had done really throughout his career that had to do with fashion and style and glamour and bring them all together."

Digging out the under-appreciated Warhol was no easy task.

"It took a lot of detective work to find all of that because most often people focus on the paintings that an artist does," King says.

King divided the exhibition into several sections, including one on Warhol's love of the glamour of Hollywood. It is a theme in many of Warhol's works, including his famed portraits of Marilyn Monroe.

"He really very early on, even as a young boy, loved images of glamorous Hollywood stars and collected them as a young boy and that's sort of a theme that runs through the show," King says. "In addition to that, his work in the 1950s as a fashion illustrator is so much a part of what he was doing and what he was interested in."

King praises Warhol's connection with modern culture.

"I think what impresses me most about him is the way that he was so in tune with our culture -- how much everyday life and everyday culture influenced Warhol, how involved he was in it, and how he, in turn, influenced what we think of a certain period like the 1960s," she says.

King also set up "Warhol Look" window displays, which she says are a very important part of the show.

"In the 1950s and early 1960 a lot of people that we think of as quote 'fine artists' today, actually did window displays. People like Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist, Robert Roshenberg, and Jasper Johns all did windows. So we've created a section of this exhibition that shows some of those displays," she explains.

Another section, called "Uptown/Downtown style," is dedicated to New York night life. The display shows how it influenced Warhol and how he affected the scene.

"Especially clubs like Studio 54 and Area, which were very, very important to the life of creative people during the 1970s and 1980s," King says.

People are just beginning to realize the magnitude of Warhol's work, King says, and she hopes the exhibition will have an impact on the fashions and styles of the future.

"I think that throughout the show that there are many things that could be picked up on in terms of fashion and in terms of style. Whether it be the drawings from the 1950s or the dresses from "Fashion is Fantasy" that Warhol designed, or his photographs of people in clubs from the 1970s and early 1980s," she says.

 
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